Adam Street Baptist Church celebrates 150 years

charley@beaufortgazette.comJune 2, 2012 

  • Adam Street Baptist Church will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a banquet at 6 p.m. June 9 at the St. Helena Elementary School Gym, 1025 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island. The church will hold anniversary revivals at 7:30 p.m. June 18-22. The celebration will conclude with services at noon and 2:30 p.m. June 24. The church is at 736 Lands End Road, St. Helena Island. Details: 843-838-5364

While members of Adam Street Baptist Church on St. Helena Island celebrate the church's 150th anniversary this year, its roots go much deeper.

Adam Street is known as a "branch church" of Brick Baptist Church. Brick was founded in 1855 as the first church on St. Helena Island. It was built by slaves for plantation owners.

Following the Battle of Port Royal in 1861, Brick Baptist became the church for the thousands of newly freed slaves.

Adam Street was founded as a matter of convenience for members of Brick Baptist Church, said Pearlie Chaplin, 68, a lifetime member of the church.

"Everybody didn't have a horse and buggy, so many people had to walk to church," she said.

The original Adam Street Baptist Church was built with lumber from an old machine shop that was towed down Station Creek, according to the church history.

Members selected the original site of Adam Street on the west part of Tombee Plantation's Adam Street.

With the building needing frequent repairs, and facing a growing membership, ground was broken for a new building in November 1974, which was dedicated June 19, 1977.

As a young girl, Chaplin remembers her weekly lessons at church.

"This is where we learned to read the Bible, read Scripture and line out hymns," she said. "We would learn how to do the clap for the shout, too. It was good for something to do as we didn't have all these activities like children do today."

Despite their new building, old traditions remain.

"We still go to the river for baptisms," Chaplin said.

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